Howl of the Carrion King – Prologue

Awakening

Xulthos stirred.

His mandibles clicked. His claws shuddered. His insectile wings flitted in agitation.

Slowly, ever so slowly, he opened his multi-faceted eyes.

He looked around his prison. His earthen tomb.

He shook off his torpor. Slid out from under his madness.

Something had changed.

Someone had come.

Had they brought the key to his prison? Was he to be set free?

Xulthos cast his senses out into the world above, searching for life. He found it quickly, a beating heart amidst the rubble of a ruined town. It wasn’t human, whatever it was, but it was humanoid. Intelligent. Virtuous. It brimmed with good intentions, righteous zeal and something else… Something intangible.

Hope, perhaps? Regret? Loss?

Need.

Need and curiosity.

Xulthos twisted his insectile features into a cruel smile.

The creature did not possess the key to his prison, but a trait that Xulthos would find just as useful. It possessed the ability to enter his prison.

Better yet, it wanted to enter. It sought for something. No. It sought for someone it believed to be buried within the tomb Xulthos inhabited.

Xulthos couldn’t help it, he laughed.

The creature would enter his prison and come face to face with Xulthos himself. It would fight against him, of course, but Xulthos did not fear the creature’s muscles or strength. Xulthos possessed both those things in abundance. And yet, neither of them were his true strengths. Xulthos would not defeat the creature with his claws, or his jaws. He would not break his body. He would not devour his organs.

Xulthos was a creature of deceit. Of manipulation. Of corruption. A master of the mind.

Xulthos would take over his soul.

The creature, righteous and powerful though it may be, would soon find itself nothing more than a puppet on a string.

Soft footsteps sounded upon the long abandoned earthen tunnels above Xulthos.

Xulthos’ mandibles clacked with excitement.

His time was at hand.

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